Partners: Mobility Means Opportunity

Mobility within enterprises is creating opportunities for channel partners specializing in security, unified communications (UC) and wireless LANs.

To enable a mobile workforce, businesses need to ensure that access to information via mobile devices through the network is monitored and controlled, and that network-based data and applications are secure. They also need policies to establish control over access to corporate intellectual property and other sensitive information.

“Ultimately, they need a context-based policy that is user-, device-, location- and application-aware,” said Nushin Hernandez, analyst for Canalys. “But there is no single solution that offers full protection and control on all fronts. Channel partners clearly have a role to play in advising on the best product combinations to suit each business.”

And security’s not the only area where partners should focus. For example, while the increase in tablets and smartphones used for work is damaging the traditional enterprise PC market, that same trend is driving wireless LAN upgrades. New mobile devices generally lack fixed Ethernet ports, so the wireless LAN is becoming the primary data access network. That means it must support a much higher density of devices, with an increased coverage area and much better reliability. Employees often use the wireless LAN to access bandwidth-hungry applications, whether thats enterprise video communications or their own media libraries, which in turn is driving significant capacity upgrades. Wireless LANs also need to be secured with identity and contextual access policies to prevent data leakage.

Mobility also is affecting the UC market, where vendors now have to extend applications from wired to wireless devices, with no degradation in experience or productivity. But not all wireless devices have the same functionality as traditional wired devices, so Internet-based services become important, as they allow vendors to shift processing power from the device to the network.

“Understanding end-user needs is critical to implementing a successful UC solution, which is why channel partners are so important: their unique strength is their customer knowledge,” said Duncan Clark, senior analyst for Canalys.

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